After Natalie Bennett kindly showed us exactly how not to speak as the leader of a political party, we thought it might be useful to create a handy guide for those of you who want to successfully run your own party. Greens take note!
So you want to start your own political party, but no one is taking you seriously. A likely reason is that you are probably being far too honest and upfront with your ideas, even if those ideas are great. It’s like suddenly inventing a super-healthy version of Coca Cola – no one will buy it!
So with that in mind, here’s our Bullshitter’s Guide to Running a Political Party:
1. DO NOT mention specifics
This really cannot be emphasised enough. If you talk specifics then people are much more likely to hold you to your promises. For example, “I want to see more NHS nurses in the next five years” is a nice, strong statement that means almost nothing, so it is an easy promise to keep. If you fail you can simply say that you really did want to see more nurses, but that it wasn’t possible.
2. DO make your manifesto needlessly long and wordy
Just as not mentioning specifics will pay off long-term, so will making your manifesto as pointlessly long and wordy as possible – strictly nothing under 500 pages. Again, the public can only hold you to account if they knew what you said in the first place. So make sure to tuck away all the more controversial policies towards the end.
TOP TIP: Combine points #1 and #2 for maximum vagueness.
3. DO NOT say you will privatise the NHS
Everyone loves the NHS – after all, it offers free healthcare to everyone. So for goodness sake DO NOT say you will privatise it, even if you already have your friends lining up to buy up their share. Anything else is electoral suicide.
4. DO mention protecting pensions
It almost doesn’t matter what your policy on pensions actually is, you just need to mention protecting them at some point in every party political broadcast and debate. While old people will always vote, they often don’t actually listen to what is said. Just mentioning the word “pensions” serves as a trigger for them to listen and they will naturally assume you want to protect them.
BONUS TIP: For extra effect, make up some meaningless term like “triple-locked” to accompany your pension chat. Old people understand what triple-locking their front door means, so it is an easy metaphor to understand.
5. DO NOT promise the young, students or unemployed anything
This is the opposite of the pensions rule. You can offer old people anything they want, they will neither remember or care in five years time, but will always vote. The young and unemployed, however, will rarely ever vote, but will remember all the promises you made. Just look at how it worked out for Nick Clegg last time…
6. DO commit only to thinking about aiming to tackle something
The difference between an accomplished statesman like Ed Miliband and an amateur like Natalie Bennett is in the words they use to make promises. This follows largely on from rule #1: DO NOT mention specifics.
For example, The Green Party have said that they will build 500,000 new social homes in the next 5 years. If they build just 499,999 then they have failed. Ed Miliband, on the other hand, has only actually committed to thinking about aiming to tackle the housing problem. Notice that he doesn’t say when, how, or precisely what the problem is. This means that Labour CANNOT FAIL in their pledge.
7. DO NOT focus on what could be, only what has been
A classic mistake amateur parties make is to focus on the possibilities for the future. They say things like: “We could live in a fairer, more equal and sustainable world, where no one has to go hungry.” This is a rookie error. The future is unknowable, so to give people hope is to jump head first into the unknown. Focus solely on the past: the past errors of your opposition, the damage that was done during successive governments, hell, drag something up from the 1950s if you have to! Whatever you do, make people afraid of the opposition getting into power – that is the way politics has worked for more than 150 years.
8. DO pander to the financial sector
It is a little-known fact that private banks actually create 98% of the money supply. So with that financial heft behind them, you need to listen to what they say. If they tell you that they don’t want to pay tax then it is up to your press office to work out how to spin that into a positive policy or make sure that all records are shredded. If you talk about raising taxes on this financial class then they will threaten to leave the country with all of their already tax-free earnings.
9. DO NOT worry about anyone north of Peterborough or west of Bath
In reality, only about 20 people live outside of London and the South East, so there is absolutely no point wasting your energy on their vote. Even if everyone in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland voted for someone else, London and the South East will still trump them every time. If you’re worried about people further afield complaining, just increase rail fares so they can’t afford to protest near Westminster.
10. DO mention “hard-working” families
Everyone likes to think that they work hard, and most people have a family. So saying that you will “stand up for hard-working families” is an obvious vote winner. It doesn’t matter that working hard and being with your family are the exact opposite things, it sounds great!